The University of Calgary is adding a new graduate program to help people with different disciplines become data scientists.

The Master in Data Science and Analytics (MDSA), which was unveiled this week, is a graduate degree program offered through a collaboration between the Faculty of Science, the Haskayne School of Business, the Cumming School of Medicine, and the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

According to the university, the new program is aimed at building capacity in Canada’s growing digital economy. Statistics Canada says the country’s digital economy – which itself isn’t an industry but for a sense of scale we’ll ignore that for a moment – was larger as a proportion of the total economy than mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction (4.8 per cent), transportation and warehousing (4.6 per cent) and utilities (2.4 per cent) in 2015. On an annual basis, the digital economy increased more than the total economy every year except in 2011 and 2017 when Canada experienced strong growth in the energy sector.

“Realizing the changing needs in an increasingly data-driven economy in Alberta, Canada, and around the world, the new program will fill an important niche in meeting the needs of students with an interest in re-skilling and up-skilling towards the tech sector,” said Dr. Bernhard Mayer, PhD, interim Faculty of Science dean. “Students in the master of data science and analytics program can expect a leading-edge education that will help them transition to important roles in Canada’s tech economy.”

The University’s website says fundamental data science, business analytics, and health data analytics and biostatistics are the program’s three areas of focus. The degree can be completed full-time in 16 months (or 12 months if students choose an accelerated pathway) or part-time through a stackable certificate and diploma pathway.

Applications to the Master of Data Science and Analytics are currently being accepted for classes beginning in September 2021.